Patreon Short Story Progress Update

It’s been a hard week to focus on writing, but I did make some progress worldbuilding and thinking on my (probably) Patreon short-story project. Namely, I’ve worked on the magic system, created a syllabary and some language/grammar rules that were necessary for naming conventions, and drawn a preliminary setting map.

I’m not yet decided on whether I’ll post finished but unrelated stories in the meanwhile. That’s kind of a tougher decision than I thought it would be.

This weekend will be busy with real-life stuff, but I intend to take the time to draw a more official setting map with my Wacom tablet. Then comes the fun part of creating borders and the notes that go along with them.

I’ve also decided on the project format. Instead of just doing an array of short stories in this setting, as I initially planned, I’d like the stories to themselves tell the story of the setting. Think World War Z. So I will have to invest some initial time into loosely plotting out the stories and how I’d like them to connect.

The result will be that the Patreon project will have a delayed launch, but I think in the end, it will be more satisfying this way.

Belated ‘Monday’ Post on Self-Publishing Short Stories

As well as being utterly down and out from the flu while having to work my day job from home because Things Are Due And I’m The Only One Who Can Do Them, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about writing.

I have a lot of short stories in my stable, and a lot more that I want to write.  But the time and energy I put into shopping them around to an ever-decreasing supply of professionally paying magazines is really not paying off.  Even doing a simple numbers crunch, if I sold one of my stories at a market rate (rather than accepting the below-market rate that many ‘but you get exposure and you’re published!’ places offer), I’d be making less than a dollar an hour in most cases.

I honestly think I could do better self-publishing these stories on something like a Patreon.  Because I love writing short stories, and I have so many other short story ideas floating around in my head, but the amount of energy I put into marketing them is not only not worth the payoff, but it detracts from the amount of energy I have to market my novels.  Which, honestly, that energy is at a premium right now.

If I did that, would I only publish short stories on it, or would I move my blog over there as a ‘perk’ of supporting me in my writing?  And what about my idea to pass a part of the proceeds on to other deserving artists?  These are all things I’d have to think about before doing an official Patreon launch.

But the seed has been planted.  And I think I might water it and see what it grows into.

Friday Progress Update

The lack of progress update last weekend was due to an emergency at the day job infringing on my weekend. So today I’ll have to give two weeks’ worth of updates!

I finished NaNoWriMo at 78,923 words. While that’s an impressive amount of words, I barely wrote during the final week and I didn’t finish my novel. I got stuck trying to get from Where The Characters Are to The End.

I spent some time working on the problem, and I now have an outline that should get me there. I’m hoping to finish the book by the end of December.

I have a mass of writing-related plans for when I get there. In approximate order:

  • apply for the Lambda Literary writers’ retreat in August 2017, applications are due in January
  • research agents for submitting the Plague Novel and work on new submissions
  • research creating a Patreon for self-publishing my short stories
  • revise the Flight novel
  • research sites seeking essay submissions and consider submitting essays

You’ll note that resubmitting my short stories to web-magazines is not on that list. The amount of time that I invest there doesn’t seem worth the possible rewards at this point.

Besides, I have a Web serial idea kicking around in my head and I think I would much rather look into the Patreon aspect for publishing short fiction, since I think that might be a good platform for publishing something like that.

To make a long story short, despite rejections and setbacks, writing progress continues.

Progress Update

Happy Friday!

This week I’ve been playing around with poetry.  I’m not a trained poet, but there is a story I want to tell that has decided it wants to be a poem, so what else can I do.  I’ll probably just end up posting that here eventually, since I don’t feel accomplished enough as a poet to try to shop that around.

I’ve also been catching up on my YA reading.  I’m not really sure whether I’ll get around to doing some Book Thoughts posts, but I’ve blown through a couple of books and I still have two more to go.

I know that I should be submitting my short stories around again.  I have zero in circulation right now, and six stories that could be in rotation.  But between my depression and anxiety issues flaring up, the motivation to set myself up for possible disappointment just isn’t there.  I’m focusing on cleaning those stories up instead.  I’m also engaging in the process of writing, which is the fun part.

Progress Update

A thunderstorm-related power outage made it difficult to post last night (but made for a lovely reading might). I’m presently working on short stories, updating them and researching markets. I intend to submit them around again later tomorrow, or possibly Monday.

Meanwhile, the Flight novel is back in my imagination, and I intend to start revising that soon. That should take me through NaNoWriMo, when I’ll resume work on the Touchdown novel. Big plans!

Progress Update

This week has been a little crazy. The early week was spent finishing the first draft of a short story, another short set in the tattoo magic world, in which the story I posted a few weeks ago was set.

Then something amazing happened on Tuesday. I received a “revise and resubmit” email from one of the agents who requested a full manuscript of the Plague Novel. This is kind of a big deal, since it was really the best thing I was expecting as an unpublished, untested writer. Especially from an agent as strongly promotional of diverse and LGBTQ+ books as this agent is (we’re talking the top of my short list, guys). After reading the email five or six times, I found that I agreed with the deficiencies that she identified in my story, and I let her know that I would be revising with her suggestions in mind.

Cue hard gear change. The rest of the week has been devoted to re-familiarizing myself with the plague novel, taking notes, and noting where I might make changes to address the concerns. Keeping in mind that I’ve written one full and a second partial novel with completely different characters and settings since I finished the Plague Novel, it has kind of been a process. I’m also spotting an embarrassing amount of typos and things that I really should have caught before sending it out on submission. Oh well, it’s too late to beat myself up about that now.

I’m hoping to get this revision done within the month, have a new round of betas, and do a second revision based on the betas before sending it back. I want to get this done in a timely way but without rushing. My goal is to have it ready to send back to the agent after two months, but definitely within three. Wish me luck!

Progress Update

The querying process and book preparation process are both less numbers-intense than the editing process.  I can’t say that I got X pages done, which is Y % of where I want to be.  Instead, I have to treat you to a laundry-list of things that I did for you to get a feel for the kind of motion I’m seeing on my end.

Plague Novel–I received a second full manuscript request and another rejection.  This puts me at two full manuscript requests and two form rejections.  I chalk this up as an overall success.  I intend to do agent research and then tweak and sent out my query letter to my second set of possible agents on Monday.  I want to try to emphasize my writing-relevant skills a little more, but I also don’t want to come off as braggy.

I keep getting little tiny ideas on the possible sequels.  I’ll have to do an entire other blog post on why I decided to write other things when I have three books semi-outlined out for the Plague Novel.

Flight Novel–this one is burning a hole in my brain.  Every now and then, things pop out at me that I want to do on revision.  I just keep noting them down in the Scrivener file so that I don’t lose them.  At some point, the desire to revise it will reach a critical mass and my attachment to the story as it exists will wane, and then and only then will it be time to pull out the proverbial red pen.

Book 3–I’m trying to come up with a working title for this.  Right now, it has two different titles in my head: that generation ship story, and “Touchdown,” which is the name of the Scrivener file on my computer.  The second one makes it look kind if like a sports story, though, so I’m not sure if it’ll stick around.

I’m eyebrows-deep in research on exoplanets, space travel, and Russian culture.  The characters have started forming in my head.  I went back and read Characters and Viewpoint, but I still have no idea if the right voice for this book is third-person limited or first-person.  I do only have one main-character.  That tends to push me toward a first-person voice, but I’m not really sure if the trade-off in immediacy is going to be worth the more intimate emotional connection to the character.  Writer problems.

Other projects–I’ve received one short story rejection.  I need to make this a pair before I send them out again, since the short story submission process is so draining for me.  I’m thinking about opening up a Patreon and putting my short stories there instead.  It’s extremely difficult to break into the short fiction market because space is extremely limited and lots of established authors also write short fiction.  I haven’t made a decision on this yet.  It’s something I’ll need to give some serious thought to before I decide whether to make a move, and in the mean time, I’m going to keep going with submissions.

I’m also going to be a contributor for Queer Girl Cafe.  My internal editor is screaming at me not to fill this space up with empty words, but… I’m very, very, very, excited about this project.  There are some amazing queer writers lined up to contribute.  I have a tiny bit of impostor syndrome even thinking about having an article in the same space as some of these women.

Progress Update

This is a little late, since Friday was spent at a writing conference (more on that later!) but this week I mostly worked on my synopsis, query letter, and agent spreadsheet.  I expect query work to continue into next week.  This is probably the least exciting kind of writing work but it’s extremely important.

I also received a rejection from Clarkesworld.  Even though they’ve rejected every single thing I’ve sent them, I love Clarkesworld.  When they say two days, they mean two days.  I’m going to try to get that story back out again tomorrow.

Why I Write Short Stories

Someone recently asked me why I still write short stories, even though I’ve finished a couple of novel-length manuscripts.

Uh, because I like to write them?

What a mind-boggling question. I’m not really sure what kind of answer he was expecting.

But there does seem to be this cultural expectation that short stories are training wheels to novels. I suppose in some ways it can be true. It’s a lot easier to focus on learning one aspect of something in a shorter format, like how to structure a scene or how to get the character’s voice into dialogue or how to stick and ending. But that isn’t the only thing short stories are good for. And they are in a lot of ways completely different from writing novels. Not all of the skills seem to translate.

I like to write short fiction because I like to read it, and I like to read short fiction for a variety of reasons. To be dropped into a story when I don’t want to invest time, or when I want to read something in a different genre or from a new author and I don’t know if I’ll like it, or to read a story that just wouldn’t work in long form, like the last scene of a dying woman or the single event that shakes up the placid life of an elderly man. They tend to pack a lot more emotional punch for my investment.

I also like to write short-stories as test-chapters for longer works. They help my figure out if a setting calls to me, or if I want to keep exploring a certain character. Short stories are also where my discovery writer comes out to play, because I rarely outline them in advance. There is no point–I can hold everything in my head all at once, and I usually do the first draft in a single sitting. Sometimes I just want to sit down and free-write.